Jack Latvala's attorney wants Lizbeth Benacquisto to recuse herself from probe – Florida Politics (blog)
The attorney representing Sen. Jack Latvala in a sexual harassment investigation says Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee where a complaint was filed against Latvala, should be disqualified from any involvement in the investigation because she violated the chamber’s privacy rules.
“Senator Benacquisto’s public comment regarding the alleged complaint is a material breach of the Senate Rules and mandates her disqualification from any further involvement in the investigation,” Steve Andrews said in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, first obtained by Florida Politics.
Andrews is citing a Capitol News Service video interview in which Benacquisto acknowledged a confidential complaint had been filed with the Rules Committee. The news report was explicitly about the sexual harassment allegations against the Clearwater Republican, but Benacquisto only said “I have” when asked if she had received a sworn complaint.
A day later, Benacquisto said privacy rules would not allow her to comment on the complaint and would not identify the subject of the complaint.
Tiffany Cruz, a Tallahassee-based attorney who is representing a woman in The Process who claims to have been sexually harassed by Latvala, said the complaint was filed with the Rules Committee on Nov. 5 — days after six anonymous women claimed in a POLITICO Florida report that they had been inappropriately touched by the powerful senator, who is also a Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Latvala has denied all sexual misconduct allegations and said that following Benacquisto’s comments in the video interview, he reached out to her, but has yet to hear back.
“(Benacquisto’s) comments in themselves were a violation of the Senate’s Rules,” Latvala told Florida Politics. “She announced it in the media but I have still not been notified that I am the subject of a